FanPost

Living good high in the strike zone

High stikes may be just the ticked for some pitchers.

A lot of people think you need extreme velocity to get away with high pitches.  However, a few years back there was a pitchers that used to just pour a mid to upper 80s fastball into the zone and get hitters to swing and miss or hit routine fly outs.

You will find this pitcher on the all time lowest hits allowed per 9ip list at number 4.

Here are the top 5
#1 Nolan Ryan, 6.555
#2 Sandy Koufax  6.792
#3 Pedro Martinez  6.848
#4 Sid Fernandez  6.851
#5 J.R. Richard

All of the above are extreme strikeout pitchers but only one didn't throw in the mid to high 90s.  How is that possible?  Fernandez had a very unusual delivery.  He hid the ball well and threw after a long stride from a low release point.  He almost threw uphill.  His ball also had good late movement high in the zone.  Hitters were literally swinging though mid 80s fastballs all day long.

The other very unusual thing is how he got people that did get the bat on the ball out.  Sid may have the lowest GB/FB ratio ever for a pitcher that logged a substantial number of innings.  Lets take 1992 as an example since its closest to the modern live ball era.

~30% of the batter that went to the plate struck out.
~22% hit fly balls
~8% hit popups
~12% hit line drives
~17% hit the ball on the ground.

You might think that would result in giving up a lot of HR but it didn't, just 12 in 214 innings and finished the year with an ERA+ of 134.

The most sure way to get a batter out is with a strikeout. If the batter puts it in play, popouts are the best, followed by fly balls, ground balls, then line drivers as the worst.

For his carer 1866ip the GB/FB rates is around 0.5 to 0.6, I cannot find an exact value.  His carer ERA+ was 110.

Who says you cannot live high in the zone?

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